Chronicaling the lunacy of taming three acres in Tidewater Virginia, one square foot at a time!

"Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves. ~H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not "Gardeny" But Important!

Quilts of Valor Made By Barefoot Quilters

Since January 2008, a local quilting group, The Barefoot Quilters Bee of the Outer Banks, has been diligently working to construct patriotic themed quilts for donation as “Quilts of Valor.” A national project, the mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover all war wounded and injured service members and veterans from the War on Terror, whether physical or psychological wounds, with quilts meant to commemorate their service and recognize their personal sacrifice in the defense of our nation.

The idea to participate in this worthy project originated with local quilters Colleen Lyall and Ellen Hyland, who quickly mobilized the group to get working. Through the generosity of time, talent and textiles the Barefoot Quilters have assembled 75 quilts that will be delivered to Camp LeJeune in the next few weeks. Each quilt demonstrates the unique style of the quilter. All talent levels of the group members were utilized to cut fabric, assemble, machine quilt and bind the quilts.

The Barefoot Quilter’s Bee meets the third Monday of every month at Dare County Library, 400 Mustian St., Kill Devil Hills, NC at 7PM. Members come from Corolla, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Manteo, Wanchese and from Culpepper and Chesapeake Virginia. In addition to the sharing of quilting talent and friendly fellowship, the members also participate in charitable endeavors such as QOV and Project Linus.

I am proud to call these ladies my friends.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Turning Japanese!

All is well in the garden in June...your roses are lush, fragrant, perfect...


Japanese Beetles, Popillia japonica, were first discovered in this country by Harry B. Weiss and Edgar L. Dickerson in August, 1916, while they were inspecting the nursery of Henry A. Dreer, Inc., about two and one-half miles east of Riverton, New Jersey, probably imported in the grub stage in iris roots which the nursery had imported from Japan five or six years before.

The Eastern US provides a favorable climate, large areas of turf and pasture grass for developing grubs, hundreds of species of plants on which adults love to feed, and no effective natural enemies.

The adult beetles normally emerge during the last week of June through July. The first beetles out of the ground seek out suitable food plants and begin to feed. These early arrivals begin to release pheromone that attracts additional adults. After feeding and mating for a day or two, the females burrow into the soil to lay eggs at a depth of 2 to 4 inches. Females lay 1 to 5 eggs before returning to plants to feed and mate. This cycle of feeding, mating and egg laying continues until the female has laid 40 to 60 eggs. Most of the eggs are laid by mid-August though adults may be found until the first frost.

In case that first bullet of information was it is in simplest terms...


Control Strategies for Adult Beetles
1: Hand Picking
Yeah right...I have nothing better to do than walk around the yard and hand pick the 15,000 Japanese Beetles that are currently "living" in my yard. If this option is attractive to you note they are less active in the early morning or late evening. They can be destroyed by dropping into a container of soapy water. (I would find it much more satisfying to use liquid nitrogen and then get the satisfaction of smashing them on the ground into a million small fragments!)
2: Plant Non Attractive Plants
The adults do not like to feed on ageratum, arborvitae, ash, baby's breath, garden balsam, begonia, bleeding heart, boxwood, buttercups, caladium, carnations, Chinese lantern plant, cockscomb, columbine, coralbells, coralberry, coreopsis, cornflower, daisies, dogwood (flowering), dusty-miller, euonymus, false cypresses, firs, forget-me-not, forsythia, foxglove, hemlock, hollies, hydrangeas, junipers, kale (ornamental), lilacs, lilies, magnolias, maple (red or silver only), mulberry, nasturtium, oaks (red and white only), pines, poppies, snapdragon, snowberry, speedwell, sweet pea, sweet-William, tuliptree, violets and pansy, or yews (taxus). Nice list...and I like growing many of those things... but if you fancy growing roses, hollyhocks or're a beetle magnet. Their actual "Love to Eat" list is too long and depressing to post...just take a walk in your will be abundantly clear. (sigh)

3: Trapping
Those cute little "Bag a Bug" traps you see hanging in peoples yards...forget them. Traps tend to attract more beetles into the area than would normally be present. YIPPEE!
4: Insecticide Spraying
Oh so politically incorrect, but effective.... acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin), among others... not advocating...just putting it out there as a possibility.
Probably like cockroaches, the beetles will outlast, outwit humans for all eternity. Guess I'll go buy more hydrangea!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Dew is the water in the form of droplets that appears on thin, exposed surfaces in the morning and/or evening. As the exposed surface cools by radiating its heat, atmospheric moisture condenses at a rate greater than that at which it can evaporate, resulting in the formation of water droplets. Some "dew" folklore...
  • If you was your face with dew, your complexion will always be clear.
  • You should never pick a pansy with dew on it. It is said to cause the death of a loved one

There is a Greek Goddess of Dew- Esra, daughter of Zeus and Eos.
"When the dew is on the grass, rain will never come to pass.When grass is dry at morning light, look for rain before the night."
For those "Man vs Wild"-Bear Grylls fans, remember that you can (allegedly) collect dew on a shirt tied around your knees, and once saturated, wring it out and drink it to keep hydrated.
“Man's life is like a drop of dew on a leaf.” - Socrates
"Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup." Wendell Berry
"Nothing can beat the smell of dew and flowers and the odor that comes out of the earth when the sun goes down." Ethel Waters

Monday, June 22, 2009


The more I look at nature, the more I wonder "Why?"
Why do so many flying things like red?
Why does that deep, rich, satiny almost black newly opened petunia turn to a lighter color?
Why are these antennae curled downwards?
Why won't this "hunter" dog chase the rabbits (aka Evil Echinacea Eaters) from my yard?
Why the magnificent irridescent wings?
Why do I always find one of these sitting on the fig leaves?
Why oh why are there slugs??
Why two orange stripes and not three?
Why does this juvenile skink have a blue tail...and why does it go away when it is an adult?

Why, despite being planting in exceptional (I thought) soil with wonderful amendments, won't my pepper plant stop turning yellow and grow???

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Skeptic No More!

Several posts or so ago, I shared my ongoing discussion with GoddessSupport as to whether there are actual bears in Chesapeake Virginia. He used as evidence against, that a bear hunt had been authorized and despite 150 or so tags issued, not one black bear was sited.
Well today all that has changed...the proverbial worm has turned.
I was driving down Ballahack Road, a rural stretch in Southern Chesapeake on my way to North Carolina. I was chatting with my son about all sort of things. We had just driven down Bunch of Walnuts Road and had seen many white egrets in the way high marshy swamp along the Northwest River (which happens to be in the southeast part of Chesapeake, go figure.)
As we drove, we both spotted what appeared at first to be a large black dog...but we quickly realized that this "dog" was a bear!!! He (she) was alone and medium sized...didn't seem in any particular hurry and was ~75 yards from us on the edge of a field. We watched for maybe 5 minutes and then he took off at a casual pace, across the field and into the woods on the other side.I immediately called Mr Skeptic Non Bear Believer...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Few For Tuesday

But for work, my garden would be "perfect," but then again I would have less $$ for plants!! Guess I will keep working to support my plant habit!

There are about a zillion different bugs on this shrub...lots of little flies, a spider that is in a long funnel web that I am too short to get a picture of...the fragrance is chokingly sweet...and clearly VERY attractive to all manner of insects.
I loved the way this bloom is resting against the shed....
This little guy and I had a stare off...he won, with more imposing eyeballs!
Now the thing is...I really don't like Mimosa Trees, I remember them as a kid in Philadelphia...kind of a weedy thing. I was surprised to read this evening, that they are attractive to hummingbirds...I have not noticed this, but will be checking closer. It depends on who you ask...some people are ready to fire bomb this plant, as invasive and horrible and others sing it's praises...If nothing else the blooms are cool looking.
I have an entire bed of these poised to "pop" in the next week...I like the double bloom.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

While it's not raining today (yet) the forecast is for chance of thunderstorms every day this week through the weekend. We have had such torrential rain in the last few weeks, its seems impossible for the ground to absorb any more!

Saturday, I attempted to run some errands and was stuck in this!

I gave up on the errands, came home, grabbed a book and sat on my porch to read and ponder. Between storms, this little butterfly was visiting the geraniums in the front bed, as thunder again rumbled closer by, he found his cover under the leaf of a mandevilla vine training on the railing. He stayed for a few hours, and when the rain past, he flew away to find another meal I suppose.
Yesterday, was another stiflingly humid overcast with threatened showers kind of day so GoddessSupport and I went walking at the Chesapeake Arboretum. A neat little place with gardens and walking trail.
There were many male Ebony Jewel Wings fliting here and there...
We found the native Paw Paw that the Zebra Swallowtail eat...

I only count 7 legs...made me wonder about the missing one.
The sweetest little frog in contrast to a BIG shoe!
Bee Balm bud...
Another further along...
I wish you could see this on the BIG monitor in our office, I was amazed just how many variations of blue, purple and green there are on this Hydrangea. Made me think about how we don't really see things...

I've told how I feel about snakes...ew. Not exactly fear, but to borrow my youngest daughter's favorite exclamation..."That's really creepy!" And of course this wasn't the only snake we encountered... Our first footstep on the walking trail had one slithering past into the low vegitation.

Now where is this squirrel going with a mouth full of leaves???
And last but not least...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Toads and Toad Stools

This little guy lives in the pot of geraniums by my front porch steps...if I tap the pot with my foot as I go by, he peeks his head up. Sometimes he is burrowed into the soil with just his eyes and nose sticking out. He is a good "pet" that requires nothing from me, but is almost always faithfully waiting for my arrival.

Another faithful friend, lives in the veggie garden under a beach towel that I keep out there to kneel on. I guess it keeps him from being someone's lunch.

I came upon these in the mossy part of the lawn under our big trees. I love how the red contrasts with the green moss. I think it is Vermillion Waxcap, Hygrocybe miniata...but to tell you the truth, when I started looking I was astounded at the number of mushroom, fungi, toadstools there are. This name seemed to fit, as these are really really small with a cap smaller than a dime.
I gave up trying to identify this one, it is really pretty and looks like something that could be found on a beach.

Now something much more up my alley- flowers!
Asclepias curassavica
Common Names: scarlet milkweed, bloodflower, silkweed, Indian root

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Rabbits and hedgehogs think new echinacea shoots are a tasty treat...ya think??? I get aggravated every time I go out to the front garden bed. I heard on a gardening program today that blood meal sprinkled around will form a perimeter that they won't cross. I will be heading out to the box store to get some of that today!